Starbucks Will Employ Deaf and Hard of Hearing People at Its First "Signing Store" in the US
Starbucks is opening its first Signing Store in the US this October in Washington DC. The store will employ 20 to 25 deaf or hard of hearing people who are proficient in American Sign Language (ASL). Starbucks announced the news on Thursday and released a statement saying, "The store will create a distinctive retail experience for all customers, while offering a unique store format that promotes accessibility and offers employment and career advancement opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing people."
The location will be modeled after Starbucks's first-ever Signing Store, which opened in Malaysia in 2016. Starbucks employees in the US expressed interest for a similar store that caters to the deaf community, and a group of them traveled to Malaysia to learn about the inner workings and design of the space.
"The store will feature exclusive artwork and a custom mug designed by a deaf artist, and a variety of enhancements to support the deaf and hard of hearing partner and customer experience. Deaf baristas will have ASL aprons embroidered by a deaf supplier, and hearing partners (employees) who sign will have an 'I Sign' pin," the statement continued.
This welcome addition to the Starbucks community will open to the public in early October. The Signing Store will open at an existing Starbucks location at 6th and H Street in Washington DC.